Security Bureau defends access curbs on riverbank site if frontier zone opened up The Lok Ma Chau Loop - a riverbank site coveted for development - must remain part of the frontier security zone or the integrity of the border with Shenzhen will be undermined, a top security official said yesterday. However, if Hong Kong and Shenzhen decided to develop the area, the Security Bureau would prepare appropriate frontier control measures, Deputy Secretary for Security Cheung Siu-hing said. 'If there is a decision [on the loop] and it needs policy to support the development, we will come up with appropriate measures,' she said on an RTHK programme. Access to the Lok Ma Chau Loop, a no-man's land formed by realignment of the Shenzhen River, would remain tightly restricted if, as the government proposes, a large part of the closed area is opened up in 2010. The government proposes building a new border fence to the south of the road running along the frontier which police use for patrols. Ms Cheung said that, since the loop was to the north of the road, it was impossible to open the area at present. 'There will be a hole in border security and it would affect border integrity,' she said. The loop is a 96-hectare plot of land created by a realignment of the Shenzhen River. The realignment left toxic soil in the area. Industrialists have been arguing that the site should be turned into an industrial zone. Among the biggest proponents of its development was the current financial secretary, Henry Tang Ying-yen - when he was chairman of the Federation of Industries. Deputy planning director Jimmy Leung Cheuk-fai said officials were now 'tackling the environment side of the [loop] issue. We're assisting Shenzhen to test the soil. We will work on how to use the site in the next stage.' Mr Leung and Ms Cheung were speaking a day after revealing details of the government's proposal for lifting restrictions on entry to 2,000 hectares of the 2,800-hectare closed area. Mr Leung promised conservation zones would be created on some of the land to be freed up. 'There are wetlands and fish ponds with high conversation value. The area is also very beautiful, with high scenic value. There are also some nicely built Qing dynasty village houses that are worthy of preservation,' Mr Leung said But he would not say whether the government would turn some of the land into a country park. The frontier restricted area was established in 1951 to help combat illegal immigration and smuggling from the mainland. It stretches from Starling Inlet in the east to Deep Bay in the west. As well as the loop area, tight controls would also remain on an area of fish ponds bordering the Mai Po nature reserve and on the divided town of Shataukok. Border checkpoints would remain operational within the reduced restricted area.